Somerset scriptwriter reboots a ‘more human’ Lara Croft for new Tomb Raider game
The return of Lara Croft in her first video game in three years will see a “more human” character than the one depicted by Angelina Jolie on the big screen, its lead writer has said.
Somerset-born Rhianna Pratchett penned the story of the new Tomb Raider – described as a “reboot” by developers – which sees Croft fresh out of university and fighting for survival after being shipwrecked on a mysterious island.
Ms Pratchett, the daughter of world-famous fantasy author and former Western Daily Press man Terry Pratchett, said she wanted to focus on the origins of the iconic adventurer, rather than the ‘Teflon Lara’ portrayed in previous games and by Jolie in the film adaptations.
“With this story we had carte blanche to go back and reboot as we saw fit”, she said. “Lara’s a very strong woman, she’s very confident, she’s very brave, she’s very resourceful. But we wanted to go back to a time when those traits were below the surface.
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“I think she became a bit colder in the movies, a little bit untouchable in some ways.
“She’s crashing planes into mountains and we wanted to bring Lara back to a place where she was a bit more ‘relatable’, a bit more human.
“She didn’t have the guns, the gadgets, the answers and the money to get herself out of various situations.
“She’s not the Teflon Lara of old where nothing would stick to her and she could get herself out of any situation. It’s really toe to toe here, she’s fighting for survival.”
Ms Pratchett, an award-winning video games scriptwriter and narrative designer, and developers Crystal Dynamics were tasked with breathing new life into the Tomb Raider series.
Games publisher Square Enix, which bought Tomb Raider creators Eidos Interactive, is now set to release the first game to feature Lara since 2010’s The Guardian Of Light.
Ms Pratchett, 36, looked to draw on the real-life experiences of people stranded in life-threatening situations as she developed the game’s story.
“One of the things we really wanted to look at was the way the human spirit can endure even under the most extreme circumstances,” she said.
“We took inspiration from things like Aaron Ralston’s experiences, which were made into a movie in 127 Hours, or the Andes survivors – people who had survived under very extreme circumstances.”
Ms Pratchett, who is currently working on The Watch, a spin-off television series based on her father’s Disc-world novels, admitted she was daunted at the prospect of relaunching Tomb Raider’s iconic central character.
“Lara wasn’t the first female protagonist but she’s arguably the most famous,” she said.
“My mum knows who Lara Croft is, everyone is kind of aware of her, in the way everyone is aware of Beyonce or the Queen.
“So as a games writer, going back and getting to reboot an icon, which is done a lot in movies but not so much in games, is a once in a lifetime challenge, especially with someone like Lara.”
Ms Pratchett said she hoped the games industry would continue to broaden its range of characters to match those portrayed in film and television.
“Characters in games as a whole need a lot more love,” she said.
“We do have a lot of white, 20s, gravelly voiced, short hair, bit of stubble… That’s a hero that’s repeated throughout games. There’s not enough diversity across the board.
“We need to see greater ethnicity of characters, age, sexual orientation as well as gender.”
She added: “If you look at the characters we have in TV or even film they’re much more diverse than we have in games.”
Tomb Raider for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 is released on Tuesday.